Developer Journal: Itemization Update

Isle of Thunder Day 1 - 12% Unlocked (Stage 1)

Patch 5.2 - Armored Bloodwing
One of the mounts that generated the most interest in Patch 5.2 was the Armored Bloodwing. While the item, spell, and model made it in to the patch, there is still no known source for it, so it could have been removed like the new engineering items. Note that it only requires level 20 and is supposedly a ground and flying mount.

Please keep in mind that the mount may not be intended for this patch!

Throne of Thunder Raid Schedule
Almost 600 guilds have already killed the first boss!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
With the release of Patch 5.2: The Thunder King, the vast Throne of Thunder raid will become available. As in previous raid tiers, Raid Finder wings and availability difficulties will be staggered.

To access the new Raid Finder wings you will need a minimum average item level (ilevel) of 480.

This is our current schedule based on a planned patch release date of March 5. If the patch is delayed, or if we determine any change is needed, we’ll update this article.

March 5 – Normal Throne of Thunder
March 12 – Heroic Throne of Thunder and LFR Wing 1 “Last Stand of the Zandalari”
March 19 – LFR Wing 2 “Forgotten Depths”
April 2 – LFR Wing 3 “Halls of Flesh-Shaping”
April 16 – LFR Wing 4 “Pinnacle of Storms”

Patch 5.2 Class Reviews – Death Knight / Druid / Hunter
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
In addition to significant PvP changes, a new Raid, a new quest hub, and a mysterious island full of dinosaurs, numerous class changes are coming in patch 5.2: Throne of Thunder.

We don’t alter classes lightly, and every change comes only after a great deal of player feedback, developer thought, and careful analysis. We also know that while class changes can help keep things fresh, they can also mean that there’s a need to re-learn things about your character that you thought you already knew. We want to make this process clearer, more understandable, and easier to adapt to as we move into patch 5.2, so I’ll be working with World of Warcraft Lead Systems Designer Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street to write a short blog series that will provide an overview of the important changes coming to each class.

Many of the 5.2 patch notes fall into two main categories: balance tuning and talent adjustments. Unless we called out a specific reason otherwise, you can assume that the various +10% or -10% adjustments you’ll see in the patch notes were made to keep all of the specs where we want them in 5.2. In some cases these are changes to reflect the different environment in 5.2 with new gear and set bonuses. In other cases, we are correcting issues we found in patch 5.1.

In terms of talent adjustments, while we’re still happy overall with the Mists of Pandaria talent overhaul, we do recognize that there were some talents that weren’t tuned as well as they could be or just weren’t attractive. That’s not to say that all talents should be all things to all players all the time; some talents are situationally quite attractive, and we’re happy with those. On the other hand, others just never see much use and we would rather provide players real options for each talent tier.

Note: The purpose of these blogs is mostly to provide an overview of the design intentions behind our 5.2 changes, rather than to detail the thought process behind every individual note. You can refer to the patch notes for specific changes and numbers.

We had three main goals:
  • Make some less attractive talents more compelling.
  • Improve quality of life for Unholy Death Knights.
  • Give a small PvP buff.

We didn’t feel like Death Knights needed many changes overall, and we try not to change classes for change’s sake, especially midway through an expansion, so you’ll see fewer changes here than for some other classes.

To address some issues with less attractive talents, you’ll see buffs to Death Siphon (more damage dealt) and Conversion (less Runic Power over time).

Unholy’s quality of life changes were mostly to solve the problem of “orphaned” runes. A Death Knight would, for example, Blood Boil twice and then Scourge Strike, leaving two Frost Runes, which weren’t sufficient to use Festering Strike. Now Icy Touch activates Reaping, which will allow those Frost Runes to convert to Death Runes. We also made Plague Strike apply Frost Fever to reduce the need to use Icy Touches. We also made Summon Gargoyle no longer cost Runic Power and changed the damage done to both Shadow and Nature to synergize better with Unholy’s Mastery, Dreadblade.

While we think Death Knights are in a good place in PvP overall, we did agree with the feedback that Strangulate has a very long cooldown for what it does, so we lowered its cooldown and also lowered Asphyxiate to match. Finally, it is worth pointing out that the tier 14 2-piece ended up being overbudget to the extent that we were concerned DKs would keep using it in the 5.2 raid. We nerfed the set bonus and buffed Death Knights to compensate. Blood is in a good place overall, but we did buff Blood Parasite dramatically, because it was just undertuned.

We wanted to:
  • Make some unattractive talents more compelling.
  • Slightly reduce Feral’s effectiveness in PvP.
  • Improve Restoration slightly in PvP and PvE.
  • Give a bump to non-Restoration Druid healing in PvP.

We had a problem where some Druid talents were only attractive to certain specs. Changes such as the buff to Cenarion Ward and Force of Nature were to help with this problem, while other talents, such as Mass Entanglement were just undertuned for all specs.

We addressed Feral in PvP by adding a cooldown to Cyclone. Now Feral won’t gain such frequent use of free Cyclone through Predatory Swiftness, but can still benefit from the proc for heals. We initially tried a few different mechanics to prevent Cat Form from stacking speed benefits to a ridiculous level, but that left Druids feeling like they were being penalized for taking the Feline Swiftness talent (which many of them didn’t take, even in PvP). We ended up with Feline Swiftness not stacking with the PvP set bonus. We’re keeping a close eye on Feral’s damage output in PvP, but we didn’t make any changes for 5.2.

Restoration’s buffs include an across-the-board buff to healing, as well as mana savings on Rejuvenation. We think that some of Restoration’s performance issues were actually caused by Discipline Priests being so dominant (since absorb shields are better at “sniping” heals than even Heal over Time effects), but we still wanted to make sure that Druids were competitive healers, so we increased their healing by 10% through the Naturalist Passive. Rejuvenation is an iconic Restoration spell. While we don’t want druids to do nothing but spam Rejuv, we don’t feel like it was getting enough use overall. We redesigned Wild Mushroom to benefit from the overhealing that can occur with Heal over Time spells. Now, the new mushrooms allow a Druid to “bank” overhealing, and then unleash it when the Mushrooms bloom.

Balance and Feral should also see a boost to PvP healing effectiveness because we’re allowing 25% of PvP Power’s benefit to increase their healing output (versus 50% for Restoration druids).

Hunters overall are in a good place in PvE and PvP. We wanted to:

  • Make unattractive talents more compelling. (Notice a theme?)
  • Improve Marksmanship’s viability.

Like Death Knights, Hunters were also in a good place overall and we didn’t think they needed many changes. These notes are relatively short as a result.

In terms of talents, we felt like Silencing Shot was too powerful so we increased its cooldown slightly, while removing the Focus costs of the competing talents: Binding Shot and Wyvern Sting. We also recognized the community’s frustrations with using Powershot so we rebuilt it so it would reliably hit even moving targets.

We reduced the cast time of Aimed Shot partially as a quality of life change for Marksmanship, and partially to buff the spec’s damage output. We also increased Chimera Shot’s self-healing to give Marksmanship Hunters a small distinct niche compared to Survival and Beast Mastery.

Nearly every Hunter felt like they had to take the Glyph of Marked For Death, so we made the glyph’s effects baseline, removed the glyph, and replaced it with the new Glyph of Liberation that provides a moderate heal when Disengage is used.

Patch 5.2 Class Feedback
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Warning: Arcana! This information is targeted at theorycrafting. You don't need to read any of the following to benefit from these items in patch 5.2.

RealPPM Functionality Changes
Just a reminder that RealPPM now uses your true melee haste or spell haste (whichever is higher) to scale the proc rate instead of attack speed or casting speed. The difference is that things that buff your attack speed (such as the raid buff or Slice and Dice) do not increase the frequency of RPPM procs. True haste boosts, such as Bloodlust or haste rating on gear will improve proc rate. We felt this change was necessary to balance proc rates among different specs.


Agility DPS
  • Vicious Talisman of the Shado-Pan Assault – 15% chance on landing harmful abilities and spells, and melee/ranged abilities and swings. 105 sec ICD.
  • Renataki’s Soul Charm – 0.56 RealPPM on landing harmful abilities and spells, and melee/ranged abilities and swings. 22 sec ICD.
  • Talisman of Bloodlust – 3.00 RealPPM on landing harmful abilities and spells, and melee/ranged abilities and swings. No ICD.
  • Bad Juju – 0.50 RealPPM on landing harmful abilities and spells, and melee/ranged abilities and swings. No ICD. Voodoo Gnomes are mostly for flavor and deal ~200 damage before armor per hit.
  • Rune of Re-Origination – 0.92 RealPPM on landing harmful abilities and spells, and melee/ranged abilities and swings. 22 sec ICD
  • Proc rate multiplied by 0.1 for non-melee specs. Proc rate multiplied by 0.25 against player controlled units. Proc rate multiplied by 1/(1.15^((528-ItemLevel)/15) for the various Item Level versions of the trinket.

Strength DPS
  • Brutal Talisman of the Shado-Pan Assault - 15% chance on landing harmful abilities and spells, and melee/ranged abilities and swings. 75 sec ICD.
  • Fabled Feather of Ji-Kun - 0.56 RealPPM on landing harmful abilities and spells, and melee/ranged abilities and swings. 22 sec ICD.
  • Primordius’ Talisman of Rage – 3.00 RealPPM on landing harmful abilities and spells, and melee/ranged abilities and swings. No ICD.
  • Spark of Zandalar - 5.00 RealPPM on landing harmful abilities and spells, and melee/ranged abilities and swings. No ICD.
  • Gaze of the Twins – 0.75*(1+MeleeCritChance) RealPPM on critical harmful abilities and spells, periodic spell, and melee/ranged abilities and swings. No ICD.

Intellect DPS
  • Volatile Talisman of the Shado-Pan Assault – 15% chance on landing harmful spell. 45 sec ICD.
  • Wushoolay’s Final Choice – 0.56 RealPPM on damage/absorb from harmful abilities and spells, and periodic spells. 22 sec ICD.
  • Breath of the Hydra – 0.50 RealPPM on damage/absorb from periodic spell. No ICD.
  • Unerring Vision of Lei-Shen – 0.50 RealPPM on damage/absorb from harmful spells and periodic spells. No ICD. Proc rate multiplied by 0.00 for non-caster specs. Proc rate multiplied by 0.5 for Balance Druids. Proc rate multiplied by 0.25 against player controlled units. Proc rate multiplied by 1/(1.15^((528-ItemLevel)/15) for the various Item Level versions of the trinket.
  • Cha-Ye's Essence of Brilliance – 0.77*(1+SpellCritChance) RealPPM on critical harmful spells and periodic spells. No ICD.



Legendary Metagems

(Lots of numbers for theorycrafters, see the full post)

Recent DPS Tweaks
  • Might of the Frozen Wastes includes melee damage by 20%, up from 15%.
  • Icy Talons increases attack speed by 30%, up from 25%.
  • Threat of Thassarian now increases Frost Strike damage by 50%, up from 40%.
  • Assassin's Resolve now increases damage by 30%, up from 20%.
  • Shadow Word: Pain damage increased by 25%.

So the Windwalker proc rate is the same regardless of whether they use 2hand or DW?

Then why is it okay to force every Unholy DK to go Frost?
That's not the intention. Now it's not realistically possible to have Unholy and Frost do idential DPS on every single boss given how different mechanics are, and that's not really our goal anyway. For players who care about 1% theoretical DPS changes, they will probably just swap specs constantly, and there isn't much we can do to change that behavior. What we do try to do is get things close enough so that someone who loves Frost and can play Frost on every encounter and someone who loves Unholy can play Unholy on every encounter. In 5.1, Unholy's DPS was probably a little too low (though take the huge sampling bias in mind when comparing DPS on sites such as Raidbots). Through all the changes going into 5.2, we found that Unholy had such an advantage that we were scared we had tipped the scales too far in the opposite direction and would see every DPS DK abandon Frost, so we buffed Frost a little again. Do we always balance these things perfectly? Of course not, and sometimes despite our best intentions Arcane ends up ahead of Fire or BM ends up ahead of Marks, or there are just more encounters that favor one over the other or whatever. Realistically our only solutions are to keep trying (which is our plan) or just give up and accept that some DPS specs aren't really for raiding (which we think would be really lame).

Prior to these buffs, we'd estimated 2h Frost and Unholy were close on most single target scenarios while DW pulled ahead in cleave.
Hey GC, so the weakest Warlock spec (destro) gets the lowest RPPM on the meta gem?
So You Are Buffing Classes Yet Again That Do Not Need A Damage Increase, Brovo!
Don't understand why buff assassination and not combat?! Combat still behind assassination...
And combat? just 5% Vitality buff, why assassination got so many buffs? Just because of the T15 raid set bonus? and pvp as combat rogues?

Yeah, my above comments apply to every DPS class. “Why did you buff Spec X when they were already tied with Spec Y? Do you hate Spec Y and want us to only play Spec X?”

We’re making these changes based on actual data and test results. Unfortunately, the primary tool the community uses for comparing and reviewing test results (World of Logs) hasn’t worked for 5.2 PTR at all, as far as we know (largely I believe to some well-meaning changes we added to let players better track things like attack power and mana gains). That basically restricts performance measurements to occasional Recount screenshots or LFR streams. This has added a fog of war effect to class balance tweaking that didn't exist last patch.

As I said in an interview recently, it's our job to balance the game. A lot of players want to help, and we appreciate that, but it's not something every forum poster needs to concern themselves with. We don't mind you challenging any of our assumptions, but try to do so in a reasonable manner, ideally with some kind of data to back it up. Most importantly, don't freak out. That just drags the conversation down for everyone.

To be clear, we buffed Frost DKs yesterday, because they were significantly behind Unholy, and we want them to be equal. Same with Assassination (compared to Combat), and Shadow. Also, for clarification, we are explicitly not using legendary meta gems as a form of balance tuning knob. We’re balancing specs without the legendary meta gems, and we’re also balancing the performance gain of the legendary meta gems. Players will have a variety of gear levels, and we strive to balance them all.

We've been told many times over the course of this testing that ret was around the same spot as the other melee specs in terms of single target but that ret was lacking in the AOE/Cleave department and that was something you were going to look at.
Since the Seal of Righteousness change, Ret is actually one of the best specs at clumped AE. I’d encourage you to try it out. Now, AE is a pretty broad encompassing term and it depends a lot on number of targets, length of the fight and so forth. Players tend to focus less on the encounters that are considered easy and a lot more on those that are considered blocking, so the specific encounter mechanics of the hardest fights become the yardstick of which kind of AE is considered important at any point in time.

I assume that you mean ranged, melee or spell haste (whichever is higher) right? Otherwise hunters will lose the benefit of RPPM scaling on ranged specific haste abilities like rapid fire and focus fire. I also assume that when you refer to non-melee specs you mean non-physical specs. Sorry to be picky about language but based on past history it's necessary to verify these things.
Yeah, sorry, I meant ranged/melee/spell haste for determining RPPM proc rate. And yes, clarification on Rune of Re-Origination: The *0.1 proc multiplier is for non-Agility users, not non-melee.

For clarification, does the last statement about the proc rate multipliers apply to all the agility trinkets or just the Rune of Re-Origination?
Just Rune of Re-Origination.

Do you currently have any plans to change/alter the elemental shaman tier 15 4 piece set bonus?
We did. It's -1.5 sec per Lava Burst.

[Re: Unerring Vision having a 0% proc chance for “non-caster” specs] Does anyone know if healers fall into this group?
No, it will proc for healers.

As others have asked, was the RPPM change live?
It's not always easy for us to keep track of when certain PTR builds were triggered so it's possible it was excluded, but my guess is that it was on PTR for about a week.

I noticed none of the buffs mentioned earlier are in the updated patch notes. I dont know if it is a mistake or just not implemented yet?
If they aren't live yet, they should be soon. Sometimes there is a lag for late changes, but we haven't reverted them.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Elder Charm Quest Removal
Drop chances of gear in 5.0 raids have been increased substantially with 5.2, so even without the coins you have a much better chance of getting loot now than you did before even with a normal roll and a coin.

The chance of getting personal loot in Raid Finder and the chance of a successful bonus roll in Raid Finder have been greatly increased for the following raids, Mogu'shan Vaults, Heart of Fear, and Terrace of Endless Spring.
Also keep in mind the new 5.2 content isn't exclusive to people that have done all of the 5.0/5.1 content. It's tuned a little tougher but still someone can level to 90, jump straight to the Isle of Thunder, and start doing stuff on the island and finding Elder Charms. Even if you're still working on 5.0 raids, you should be looking to do some of the new 5.2 content.

The Elder Charms also drop fairly frequently on the isle.

and with the other hand, make it much harder to obtain Elder Charms for those raids?
Considering you can almost literally find them just laying around in chests on the island, I wouldn't say it's necessarily harder to obtain them. Getting 90 Lesser Charms to convert into 3 probably took more time than it'll take to find 3 on the island.

This needs to be hot fixed immediately. We had access to our Elder Charms last week. There was no reason to remove them this week.
It's going to stay this way, sorry if it caught you off guard. You'll be using your Lesser Charms to buy Mogu Runes which give bonus rolls on 5.2 content.

Unless they have been doubled, and mounts included in that doubling of droprate, this isn't an acceptable change
It's been more than doubled in some cases. We have to throw in free mounts too? Well... ok, the satchels you get off of bosses when you don't win an item now also have the chance to drop mounts and pets, among other things.

as you now require more work to have the same chance as before.
How so? Questing in older content to get Lesser Charms to turn in for Elder Charms... or questing in newer content just to find Elder Charms. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Patch 5.2 Resilience Changes
We have indeed made a change to the formula for resilience. Currently in patch 5.1 resilience scales exponentially, in patch 5.2 it will scale linearly. What this means is that at higher ratings of resilience you will see little to no change in damage reduction, but at lower ratings it will go up.

What we did was take the best geared players and made sure that their resilience did not change, from there we scaled down linearly. We made sure that nobody would lose any damage reduction, but those who are undergeared will gain some to help with their survivability. So while current gear will not be affected, this new formula does mean that the theoretical max of resilience has decreased slightly. By this I mean that when you reach full Tyrannical gear you will have a little bit less damage reduction than if this change was not implemented.

Why would they reduce the amount of resil you have at lvl 90, when the dmg in PvP is already too high.....
We have not reduced the amount of obtainable resilience, we have simply changed the formula for how the amount damage reduction from resilience is determined. Players in their top end gear right now should see almost no change in their damage reduction, but those with lower levels of resilience should see more.

The only time you should start seeing less damage reduction from resilience is when you start using the Tyrannical gear in patch 5.2.
I explained it in my last post here:

So while current gear will not be affected, this new formula does mean that the theoretical max of resilience has decreased slightly. By this I mean that when you reach full Tyrannical gear you will have a little bit less damage reduction than if this change was not implemented.

It's so frustrating that you ignore stuff like this that has a huge impact on the game for this long and only mention it when a "known" person comes forward.
I am sorry about that, but the person asking the question does not determine if an answer will be given or not. I was not able to respond to your post as unfortunately at that point in time I did not have the necessary information to reply with an answer.

So am I understanding it correct that we will have less resilience/ damage reduction in our end gear than we do now?
No, I feel that my explanation may have been misleading. Your resilience will continue to increase as you get more of it, so you will have more resilience in Tyrannical gear than in Malevolent. The explanation is only about when you have full Tyrannical gear and not comparative to Malevolent gear.

So, to elaborate; the theoretical max of damage reduction when wearing full Tyrannical gear is now lower than what it would have been if this change to the formula didn't occur, but not by any drastic amount. In current patch 5.1 gear, your resilience should be either the same as it was before, if not, better.

BURST is still too high even on people with full resilience and Blizzard's solution is too make resilience/ damage reduction less??
Nope, your damage reduction will still increase going into the future, just the theoretical max has been lowered slightly. This change was aimed more towards allowing undergeared players more resilience, those at higher levels of resilience should notice little to no change. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

LFR Delay Feedback
Yea first part, exactly, while all parts should be there, dont care about no hardcore raiding people that think wow is their life, and how HURT they would feel if little longstride could do lfr... SHEESH!!!!!
And those hardcores that you do not care about could just as well say that they don't care that you are not able to just waltz in an slay Lei Shen in the first week.

We are trying to take the interests of both casuals as well as hardcores (and everyone in between of course) into consideration with the staggered release of the Throne of Thunder raid.

You may not approve, but we feel it is fair compromise for everyone if the players who prefer to use the Raid Finder gets to experience the content, but not so soon that Lei Shen is being farmed for weeks via the raid finder before normal/heroic raiders even gets to have a go at him.

Having the end boss of a raid dungeon on farm status via the raid finder diminishes the epic feeling of defeating that boss for the first time in normal/heroic raids, and we would like to avoid that with Lei Shen as much as possible - at least in the beginning while the raid is still fresh for the normal/heroic raiders.

We know that the players who raid primarily via the Raid Finder want to see the new content sooner rather than later, and to accommodate that we plan to release the first two wings faster than the last two. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Vanity Items from PVP
More vanity items in PvP, as we have said many times, are something that we would like to do. We understand that only having power upgrades as rewards in PvP is not something that the community enjoys. At this point we have an aesthetic and strong weapon enchant available to PvP'ers which has both a rating requirement and conquest point cost.

bring back arena tabards and gear sets for certain rating would actually make people improve in the game
This is something we hear a lot whenever vanity rewards are mentioned in PvP, especially the request for tabards. We know that players would like additional incentives and goals to achieve higher ratings in PvP, outside of just item upgrades. In the future we hope to add more vanity items as rewards in PvP, unfortunately at this time we have no new information on what those vanity items will be or how they will be awarded. (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Patch 5.2 - New Loading Screens

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